Demand for British chicken – particularly fresh chicken – is strong and will continue to be so, according to Patrick Hook, director at PD Hook. However, there is a big push from EU NGOs for more chickens to be slow grown, which will challenge the supply chain, he warns. “As an industry, instead of fighting these people we should have an offer for them to demonstrate responsible production.”

The Brexit backdrop provides a lot of uncertainty, he adds. “Imported US chicken is a credible threat – we need to protect our supply base and sell the benefits of eating Red Tractor chicken.”

John Kirkpatrick, agricultural manager for poultry and eggs at Tesco, reckons the coming year is likely to see continued improvements in welfare standards, with increased use of data to measure the outcome. “We want to adopt sustainable practices that are really delivering positive outcomes.”


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